BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Yet another Central New York community is grieving the loss of a young girl who lost her life to violence.
Ava Wood (14) was allegedly shot and killed by her father, Christopher Wood (51), inside of their Baldwinsville home before he turned the gun on himself. Police are still investigating, but it appears this was a murder-suicide.
NewsChannel 9 is continuing to learn more about who Ava was, and what she meant to the Baldwinsville community.
The 14-year-old was a high achiever, a 9th grade honor roll student at Durgee Junior High, the MVP of the girls JV soccer team and a key member of the track and field program.
Tiffany Stubbmann is Ava’s former coach. She describes Ava’s tragic death as devastating and unimaginable.
Stubbman says Ava struck the perfect balance. She was a leader and focused when she needed to, but the 14-year-old was also fun and full of life. Stubbman was Ava’s school counselor in 6th and 7th grade as well.
“They were almost always joking around at practice, but would also be able to be focused when we would need to perform and do our workouts and routines,” Stubbman explained. “There were times that the kids would try and sneak and do some tricks or try to alter practice, but for the most part everybody, especially Ava, you could count on them to do what they needed to do and perform.”
Ava Wood was an exceptional athlete with a magnetic energy. Many friends say she lit up every room she walked into and had a smile that will be hard to forget.
Her smile, but she was a great friend. She had a great personality. She was a spitfire. She was someone who you could just always count on as well. That is a legacy that we want: her work ethic, her athleticism and her friendships in the community just to remember that’s how great she was. Somebody that you could count on, on and off the field.TIFFANY STUBBMANN, AVA’S FORMER TRACK AND FIELD COACH
Thomas Fraher, the principal at Durgee Junior High, told NewsChannel 9 Ava’s death is the hardest thing he’s faced in his 27 years of education.
Ava’s soccer coaches also sent NewsChannel 9 the statement below:
“Ava has been part of our program since 7th grade making a huge impact on it. She had an energizing personality on and off the field. Ava was often seen on the field with two different cleats on, the most fashionable footwear we had seen. She was the MVP of our JV team this year. Our soccer family is devastated by this unimaginable loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ava’s family during this most difficult time. Ava truly made an impact in her few years here with our program and we will miss her but she will always be in our heart.”KATHY MORSE & TOM HARTSHORN, VARSITY AND JV BALDWINSVILLE GIRLS SOCCER COACHES
Ava’s mother, Heather Wood, also released a statement on Saturday afternoon to thank the community for the outpouring love and support shown to her and her family during this difficult time.
A candlelight vigil and prayer service in memory of Ava Wood is scheduled for Sunday, January 22 at St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church in Baldwinsville. It’s a way for the community to honor and remember their loved one, friend, teammate, student and classmate.
Counseling services will continue Sunday at Durgee Junior High from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for students or staff members who need it.